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What should people be "entitled" to?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Narz, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Not just in a "perfect world" but in the real one.
    Commodore's thread about employment "obligation" got me thinking about this topic and also the recent shooting tragedy where the perpetrator felt "entitled" to be liked by his peers & desired by women (without any sense of what he should be able to offer in exchange for the respect of others).

    I often hear old folks talking about how the younger generation feels "entitled" & lacks the motivation to "prove themselves" and "contribute".

    Being (fairly) young myself I can honestly relate to this ambivalence about "achievement" & contribution. My dad was big into working very hard but at the expense of much connection to his family. He died young & I wonder often what he really accomplished. I think young people are seeing the mad race for achievement & recognition (aka : the rat race) as a bit of a empty cause, much of the racing probably hurting the world/planet/society more than helping it.

    But of course, outside of the dark triad, everyone wants to feel some sense of contribution to life & recognition from others.

    So returning from my tangent. What should people be entitled to & how should society go about helping them achieve it? For example (in no particular order)

    • Food (what kind & how much? just enough to survive & healthy stuff or enough to be full at the end of the day?)
    • Water (for drinking, bathing, water balloon fights?)
    • Money (how much, under what circumstances & for how long?)
    • Housing(what kind? should everyone be entitled to their own room/shared space?)
    • Sex (IIRC, some nations offer sex workers to the terminally disabled who'd likely never get laid otherwise. Would the world be a better place if everyone was offered free sex once a year? Once a month? Would this create jobs? Would it be an abomination?)
    • Jobs (should unnecessary jobs be created just to keep people busy? should employers to be forced to provide job security to useless or belligerent employees?)
    • Medication (For what time of ailments? What about vitamins & supplements?)
    • Health (Gym memberships to keep the populace fit & vigorous? More parks? Free counseling for those lacking motivation or focus? Rehab for addicts? Only health treatments to heal illness/injury or preventative medicine/treatments?)
    • Training/Education (Job training? University?)
    • Happiness (Do people have the right to be happy? Should advertisers be allowed to prey on people's base impulses to drive them searching for happiness in acquisition?)

    This is just a random list of things people may or may not be entitled to.

    One thought I just had is that, the US IIRC has one of the highest per-capita prison populations in the world. Most would agree prisons don't prevent crime (most criminals will return to prison at some point), they may provide in fact ideal breeding grounds for criminals & criminal schemes.

    Yet no one doubts people's "right" to goto prison (and thus be provided for by the state). Perhaps if we give certain entitlements we can reduce the amount of people who receive reciprocated benefits in jail? It's an interesting subject. Certain entitlements probably reduce motivation & ultimately full participation in society whereas others may give those on the fringe the push-up they need.

    Looking forward to people's thoughts.
     
  2. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    Life, liberty, and property are a pretty good starting place.
     
  3. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    A little vague. Liberty especially.
     
  4. Manfred Belheim

    Manfred Belheim Moaner Lisa

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    And life is kind of a given.
     
  5. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Even life is a little vague. How does air pollution factor in to people's right to life for instance? Not to mention climate change.
     
  6. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    I think any member of society who is able to contribute to society, as by working, should be required to do so at a minimal level. It would therefore perfectly alright to necessities be contingent on employment in those circumstances. Of course, the usual case among the impoverished is that people want to work but can't, and those that can aren't paid enough, and that's a problem that society should fix. So in the end it's probably best to provide a the basics for everyone.

    From the list, "the basics" are:
    • Food - Enough to be able to cook 3 healthy meals a day. 2500 Calories with a healthy balance of nutrition. It's better to hand out groceries than prepared meals when possible.
    • Water - Enough for drinking and daily use.
    • Money - No, but money can be given to pay for another necessity.
    • Sex - No, but nor should it be disallowed.
    • Jobs - No, but public works are a means of stimulating the economy, and reducing poverty though that.
    • Medication - Yes, for all non-cosmetic, and some serious cosmetic problems. Vitamins not prescribed as part of treatment would qualify as food, which is also an entitlement. There may be budgetary limmits on treatment, but if so these should be reasonable enough that they are rarely encountered.
    • Health - There's an entitlement to a healthy environment to live and work at. In practice, exercise doesn't require a special subsidy, except for in hospital patients.
    • Housing - A bed to sleep in, a place to keep stuff. Not in original list.
    • Training/Education - No, but public education is a way to make people useful to society, so it should be pursued for those reasons. It also combats inequality. So it's a worthy public handout, but for a different reason from the others.
    • Happiness - everybody should be given the opportunity to pursue their passion, at least part-time. The way to achieve this is to eliminate unequal opportunities, and empower upward mobility. Easier said then done.
     
  7. Bootstoots

    Bootstoots Deity Retired Moderator

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    I'd be in favor of granting adult citizens an unconditional guaranteed income/subsidy on the order of $800/person/month. This is given as an entitlement to all citizens regardless of their behavior, although it could be garnished to pay unpaid taxes or fines. Credit could also be given for custody of children, but on a descending scale (say $600 for the first, $450 for the second, $300 for the third, $150 for the fourth, nothing past that, with an added credit for single parents) and on the condition the children receive all immunizations, proper education, etc.

    I've run the numbers on this and it could work with a simple two-bracket income tax structure of 40% for households under $250,000; 60% above. The high rate on low earners is because they've already gained their minimum income; the break-even point where one would be a taxpayer net of the subsidy falls at $9600/.40 = $24000; and double that for a two-income household with no children. The total tax revenue minus subsidy is higher, using IRS data from 2011, than they collected IRL in that year with the 2011 tax structure.

    I'm not wedded to this proposal exactly, but I want to turn basic welfare (enough to eat, generally pay for basic medical insurance, and not be homeless) into something that everyone is entitled to. Past that, though, it isn't the state's business if somebody doesn't get a job and blows all their money on drugs; they chose that lifestyle over a productive one, and we wouldn't have to feel bad if they end up in the streets because they still have an income stream. If they have children and are neglecting them, there would still be a system to deal with that.

    Most of the means-tested welfare programs would then be abolished, with a few exceptions. Now everybody's a welfare recipient, and everybody who gains work will still get a net income increase for getting any paying job, since they can't be cut off at some arbitrary income threshold, and they'll get to take home something like 50% of any earnings they receive.

    Of course there's no chance in hell of this being adopted, but I think it may be technically possible.
     
  8. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Good addition, it slipped my mind somehow, added.
     
  9. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Respect, privacy, dignity, access to information
     
  10. KmDubya

    KmDubya King

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    You should not be entitled to anything more than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Life - you should not be arbitrarily killed or subject to violence.

    Liberty - you should be free to do what you want as long as it does not infringe upon another's rights. As in your right to swing your arms stops at my face.

    Pursuit of happiness - you are free to try and be happy, nothing is guaranteed.

    This is all society should provide. The list you have is absurd, people need to work to obtain the things that you want and/or need.

    The items on your list are things that you would provide for your pet or your slave, not for a free member of a society. If everything you want is provided for free who pays for all of it? In that sort of world why would anyone work? That type of world would result in everyone being equally miserable.
     
  11. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Well, for me, the difficulty I'm having in answering this question to my satisfaction suggests that it's not the right question to ask. Rather than "what should we be entitled to?" it should be "what protections can society afford us so that we are able to flourish as human beings, fulfil our potential, and enjoy the full richness and wonder of all human experience?" I think the former question lacks a goal, and though the way I have phrased the goal is vague and wordy, I think it's important to always keep in mind what we're trying to create with our societies. Given how broad a range of human experiences any individual might wish to enjoy, I think our protections need to be permissive. So rather than entitling people to sex, for instance, we should be enabling them to have sex. In other words, an able bodied male can't rock up to City Hall and say "I demand sex"; rather, we enable him to have sex by (a) not forbidding consensual sex (with certain caveats vis-a-vis harm caused to others), and (b) protecting him from discrimination, harassment, etc, on the basis of his chosen form of consensual sex (again properly caveated). In the case of the disabled man, we enable him to have sex by providing a legal framework in which sex can be bought and sold safely.

    I won't follow this train of thought too far, lest it becomes a lecture in liberalism, but I think it's important for these questions to have a goal.
     
  12. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    I understand life to be protection of human lives by society. Liberty is the absence of government coercion.
     
  13. storealex

    storealex In service of peace

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    Serving their country.
     
  14. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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  15. salty mud

    salty mud Deity

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    I think everyone should be given the same right to life as everyone else: what they do with it is up to them. Of course, this would be in an ideal world which we don't live in, so this is probably unattainable.

    As for what a person should be "entitled" to in a first world nation, I would think the following.

    Food - certainly enough to live a healthy lifestyle with a varied source of nutrition and flavours. I don't see this as a "luxury," more of a basic human right. Going to restaurants and eating fine foods made for you would be more of a luxury.
    Water - even more of a simple commodity than water. Enough to drink, bathe and do other daily activities.
    Money - I'm not a big fan of the welfare system. Those who refuse to work should receive the bare minimum to get essentials. Those who CAN'T work should naturally receive more to help them, their families and their medical costs.
    Housing - Basic living, sleeping and food preparation areas. I would say everyone should have access to their own private space.
    Sex - should sex be offered to you? I don't think so. But it shouldn't be denied from you.
    Medication - healthcare should be available for all. Non-essential surgery like cosmetics or enhancements though are not considered healthcare and should carry an additional charge.
    Health - Parks and open public spaces should be provided of course. Gym memberships and such though should not.
    Training/Education - compulsory education up to the age of 18 should be provided. University education should be available for the more dedicated students.
    Happiness - I'm not really sure what to say here. Happiness would depend on all of the above factors and more. I suppose a person is entitled to live a happy life but happiness is different from person to person. Some people may only be happy when experiencing the finer things in life while others enjoy simply doing nothing all day, everyday.

    I am a strong believer in the work ethic. If you work hard, you deserve more. Everyone is entitled to the basics of life but those who work hard and contribute deserve more.
     
  16. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    Just a general comment: since at least the early 20th Century young people have been claiming to be sick of the "rat race" and "opting out" of the system. See the early "hipsters", the beat generation, the hippies, etc. Of course, on the grand scheme of things nothing really changed. And our generation is actually quite conformist.

    As for what people are entitled... not much? I think we can only reach near-universal agreement on very modest "entitlements", such as life, liberty and some restricted property rights. All the rest depends on what we find convenient.
     
  17. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I think the logic of "entitlement", as presented here, is hugely limited. It's basically a logic of the bourgeois state: it asks what people should be entitled to demand, while assuming that this entitlement is both equal and universal. Such a logic isn't capable of telling you how to build the Good Society, because it assumes a certain social and political structure to begin with.
     
  18. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    This is strange because it suggests slavery is not a violation of liberty, because it's not the government doing it.
     
  19. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    Not necessarily. Slave owners would need "free" government sponsorship to protect their interest in owning slaves, but not the government forcing them to own slaves. Now if the government forced them to not own slaves, it may not be feasible to mount a resistance against the government. Which when slavery was outlawed most slave owners reluctantly gave up the business without fighting the government on the issue. Thus the absence of governmental coercion did not allow slavery to go on.
     
  20. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Free Soylent. As much as you want.

    Free clean water. Some reasonable amount that covers drinking, low-flow toilets for a high-fiber diet, daily 5-minute low-flow showers.

    Dunno, let some smart non-economist math people figure it out. Don't let politicians have any input.

    Enough homeless shelters to not have homeless people on the street.

    Nope, let the free market deal with it.

    Nope, most people aren't smart enough to contribute in any worthwhile sense to society in a post-scarcity economy. Deal with your life of non-productive leisure.

    Medication at a reasonable cost for any ailment. No vitamins or supplements, you're already covered with the free Soylent.

    Free market gyms. My city has a good amount of parks (~13% of city area). Dunno about counseling or rehab, let some non-economist math people figure out if it's cheaper than publicly provided healthcare for them, provide as appropriate. Treatment and preventative healthcare as fiscally reasonable.

    Free basic broadband, education is already free with that.

    Happiness isn't my problem. Advertising is a plague on society, and I'd make advertising-based business models financially impossible.
     

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